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Cologne

Cologne was raised to a 'colony' (hence the name), with city status by the Romans in 50 AD, and was later absorbed into the Gallic Empire, becoming the capital from 260-271. The city was highly prized by both of these communities, due mainly to its location on the River Rhine, which placed it at the intersection of the major trade routes east and west, and was the basis of Cologne's growth. In addition to this, several saints were martyred in the city and the relics of the Three Magi were acquired from Milan. Cologne then also became a centre of ecclesiastical importance, as well as a pilgrimage centre, meaning the city continued to prosper in the middle ages as a result. Following a slight decline in the city's fortunes, Cologne experienced something of a renaissance in the 18th century with a recipe involving distilling flower blossoms in alcohol. This 'toilet water' achieved worldwide fame as eau de Cologne.

Although Cologne was badly damaged in the Second World War, the Cathedral survived, and extensive restoration work has since taken place throughout the city. In the modern age Cologne has reclaimed its old role as a major trade and business centre - now a radio and television metropolis, and a beer city, with over twenty breweries producing Kölsch, the distinctive local beer. Whilst in Cologne you really ought to visit the vast Cathedral. The foundation stone was laid in 1248, and it was finally completed in 1880. Called "the mother of all German churches", it is one of the largest Gothic structures ever built, and its size reflects its power - it is the seat of the Primate of Germany. The Cathedral was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996, and today you can see the relics of the Three Magi, and climb the south tower for a spectacular view of the city and the Rhine.

Sightseeing in Cologne
Cologne's Old Town, which has been carefully restored to preserve its pre-war appearance, is also a joy to discover. It spreads from just south of the Cathedral to the bank of the Rhine. Here you can admire the tall and narrow pastel-coloured houses, set out along the Old Town's winding streets, as you wander to the Rhine Promenade for a stroll along the river. There are many traditional brewery taverns close to the Old Town, all of which serve Kölsch beer - brewed only in Cologne. You may wish to visit at least one of these to sample the beer for yourself.

If you have the time to explore further, Cologne boasts an assemblage of both Roman and medieval remains that is unsurpassed in Germany. For example Eigelsteintor, one of the three surviving magnificent city gates, is a short distance north. The other gates, Severinstor and Hahnentor, are further afield but also worth a visit.

15 results matching: Escorted Rail Tours to Cologne

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Glacier Express & St Moritz
Small Group
Price Reductions
4.8 stars(16 reviews)
2022MayJunJulAugSep
10 days from
£2,895 pp
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10 days from
£2,895
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
Map and accommodation
Zell am See
Small Group
Price Reductions
4.6 stars(27 reviews)
2022MayJunJulAugSepOct
2023Jul
9 days from
£1,495 pp
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9 days from
£1,495
per person
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  • DestinationAustria
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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Premium Rhine Cruise
Price Reductions
2022MayJunJulAugSep
2023MayJunJulAugSep
8 days from
£2,095 pp
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8 days from
£2,095
per person
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  • DestinationFrance, Germany, The Netherlands
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationCruise
  • TransportRail, Cruise
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Amadeus Queen
Price Reductions
4.8 stars(6 reviews)
2022JunJulAugSep
2023JunJulAugSep
9 days from
£2,195 pp
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9 days from
£2,195
per person
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  • DestinationAustria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationCruise
  • TransportRail, Cruise
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9 days from
£2,395
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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9 days from
£2,295
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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Saxony by Steam
4.6 stars(9 reviews)
2022Jun
8 days from
£1,195 pp
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8 days from
£1,195
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  • DestinationGermany
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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Grand Alpine Explorer
4.4 stars(5 reviews)
2022MayJunJulAugSep
14 days from
£3,895 pp
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14 days from
£3,895
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  • DestinationAustria, Germany, Switzerland
  • Starts / EndsLondon Heathrow
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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7 days from
£1,795
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
Map and accommodation
7 days from
£1,795
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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Interlaken & the Jungfrau Express in Winter
4.4 stars(22 reviews)
2023JanFeb
7 days from
£1,595 pp
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7 days from
£1,595
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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Romantic Road and Bavarian Alps
Small Group
4.4 stars(8 reviews)
2022MaySep
9 days from
£2,195 pp
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9 days from
£2,195
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  • DestinationGermany
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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Our customers love our Cologne tours
Interlaken and the Jungfrau Express in Winter
29/Mar
John Jago
5 stars
“We done the same tour in the summer however the Winter version is like a different holiday.Amazing scenery.
Collected by Trustpilot
Colditz, Meissen and Saxony by Steam
Sep 23 2020
Mr Michael Arnold
5 stars
“Excursions and hotels all very nice, plenty of free time and it was also very warm(!)
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
Austrian Alps All-Inclusive
16 Oct 2019
Mr D Thomas
5 stars
“Great Rail Journeys were faultless throughout, however, on the journey from Brussels to Austria the German railway system was abysmal. Both legs of the trip (Brussels to Cologne, and then Cologne to Munich ) were plagued with delays and two major engine failure on the locomotive. When we arrived in Austria everything was brilliant, great hotel, excellent food, friendly staff and a well organised and enjoyable itinerary. The GRJ tour manager Steven was amazing,
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
The Alps of the Austrian Tyrol in Winter
18 Apr 2019
Mrs C Maskell
5 stars
“Lovely hotel, excellent tour manager , met some lovely people, plenty of snow
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
Delights of the Danube (Rail and Cruise)
Jun 18 2018
Mr J Rowse
5 stars
“The holiday was very good, visiting Berlin and Prague before boarding the Amadeus Brilliant which was excellent. Accommodation and food on board also excellent, a thoroughly enjoyable holiday.
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
The Harz Mountains in Winter
29/Mar
Richard from Berkshire
4 stars
“If you like Steam Trains and Snow this is an amazing trip. Many Steam Train trips. But Clip on studs that go over your shoes ie 'Crampons' should have been recommended for the top of 'The Brocken' as it can be treacherously icy. We saw many falls. The surrounding towns has some wonderful buildings and appears almost desolate. Very little is in English so you may need to rely on a guide, especially in restaurants. The escort was wonderfully organised and most necessary, especially with organisation and signage as despite what we think the train services in Europe are not too different to ours regarding efficiency and sometimes very much worse. Also having a central point/hotel in Wernigerode from which to explore the area meant we only had to unpack once to enjoy all the different trips. Being old we were surprised to find we could manage much of what was available to see and the guide took care to ensure we were catered for. You can very much imagine it was still part of Eastern Germany when it was controlled by Russia. Strongly recommended. Without a professional guide we would have missed a lot.
Collected by Trustpilot
The Glacier Express and St Moritz
11 Jul 2019
Les Mackey
4 stars
“We were downgraded on the Glacier Express because of overbooking. This was not the fault of GRJ. At the last minute we were reinstated for most but not all of it. It meant we had to travel on later trains to the group. The train journey from Cologne to St Moritz was tiresome and involved changes of stations, trains etc due to the problems on German Rail. This was not the fault of GRJ. However, the journey took 13.5 hours. Our tour guide was brilliant, he did his utmost to get us there as quickly as he could. He was constantly cheerful no matter what was thrown at him. He is a credit to GRJ. Overall the holiday was superb. Lovely scenery, hotels.
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
Grand Alpine Explorer
16 Aug 2018
Mr M Ward
4 stars
“The hotels were of variable standard. We felt the hotel in Traunkirchen was not of 4 star standard with regard to facilities, room, and the hotel was not particularly well situated. The dinners served in St Moritz were of poor quality and appeared to have been prepared on an extremely tight budget. However the hotel in Innsbruck was excellent and we would have preferred more time there than in Traunkirchen. The total porterage worked excellently which is why we give the holiday 4 and not 3.
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
Romantic Road and Bavarian Alps
Jul 11 2018
Mr R Lennon
4 stars
“It would have been 5 stars if the hotel meals had been better with more choice and larger portions.
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
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